* Highest ranking exec to leave since shareholders fell out
* BP may sell TNK-BP stake to Rosneft, AAR may stay or sell
* Dodds unlikely to join colleagues at Rosneft
* Deputy seen as likely successsor
(Adds background on Dodds, likely sale of shareholders' stakesin TNK-BP)
MOSCOW, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The head of upstream at Russianoil firm TNK-BP will leave the company, thehighest-ranking executive to depart in an exodus of staff as apotential sell-off by its main shareholders looms, sources closeto TNK-BP said on Thursday.
Alexander Dodds joined TNK-BP from ExxonMobil Qatar ,where he had served as president, in October 2011. The sourcessaid his resignation would be announced to company staff onFriday.
Senior TNK-BP staff, including its top oil trader and headof mergers and acquisitions, have left the company in the monthssince BP and its partners in the Russian-British oil companysaid their 50-50 joint venture was untenable.
Both sides have said they are willing to sell out, thoughthe quartet of Soviet-born billionaires who share control of theNo.3 Russian oil producer have also said they would be willingto buy out the British oil major.
Russian state-backed oil firm Rosneft has said itwould like to buy out BP and is seeking financing for the deal,likely to be worth a total of $25 billion or more, though a fullmerger of TNK-BP and Rosneft through a buyout of both partnerscould be difficult to finance.
Dodds is seen as unlikely to join a steady flow ofexecutives from TNK-BP and BP itself to Rosneft, however.Sources close to TNK-BP said his likely successor was hisdeputy, Nikolai Ivanov.
(Reporting by Melissa Akin and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing byMegan Davies and Mark Potter)
Keywords: RUSSIA TNKBP/UPSTREAM